The Prior General, Fr. Fernando Millan y Romeral together with Fr. Benny Phang, Councilor for Asia, Australia and Oceania had just concluded his canonical visit to Carmel Philippines from March 6 - 23, 2017.
The visit was very fraternal where many aspects of our life as Carmelites in the Philippines were tackled. Salient points discussed with individuals and communities ranged from the life and challenges as a new province, outlook for the future of the Carmelite order in the Philippine setting, dreams and hopes for the young formands, personal issues including the well-being of the members, problems and probable solutions faced by the members of the Order as friars, nuns, tertiaries, associates and youth.
The atmosphere during the fraternal sharing was hopeful, joyful, enthusiastic, challenging, reflective. Our prior general and the general councilor reminded us to be free spirited in sharing. They also reminded us that though we are surrounded by the darkness of this world, we need to rediscover the light of Christ in our hearts, so we can lead others to that same light.
The Prior General and General Councilor called now by the Carmelite members as FB (Fernando and Benny) traversed the different islands of Philippines, from Luzon: Quezon City; Tanay, Rizal; Guiguinto, Bulacan; and other places where he consulted and shared with the friars, nuns, sisters, tertiaries and formands. They proceeded to the Visayas: Roxas, the different places of Negros Islands: Bacolod, Escalante, Dumaguete. Then to Mindanao: Agusan del Sur, Bukidnon. Wherever they went, they were met by enthusiastic Carmelites willing to share their stories, including their talents and the visitors responded with listening ears to all the stories, songs and wondered at the richness of the Philippine talents.
At the conclusion of the canonical visit, the Prior General made this observation and prayer:
“We leave the Philippines with great affection for all the groups of this country (Friars, nuns, the active life sisters of various congregations, tertiaries, associates, youth, etc...). This year they are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first image of Our Lady of Mount Carel in Philippines. He came from Mexico - in the famous Spanish galleon - with the Augustinian Recoletos who had received it from the nuns in Mexico. May our mother and sister continue to guide and accompany the Carmelite family in this dear country.”